Burton’s career high leads Richmond over Saint Joseph’s
Saint Joseph’s opened the game in a different type of defense than what Richmond is used to seeing, with the Hawks switching off certain Spiders players and staying man-to-man on others. Undeterred, Richmond made four of its first five shots from three-point range and opened a 28-15 lead by the seven-minute mark of the opening half.
“The worst thing you can do is try to figure out what they’re in or who they’re guarding — if t’s a triangle-and-two — the worst thing you can do is that,” said head coach Chris Mooney. “The best thing you can do is to play and play aggressively.”
Matt Grace gave the Spiders an early lift off the bench, hitting a pair of three-pointers in the first half en route to a career-high 10 points in the game. “I noticed right from the first play that they literally weren’t coming out of the key to guard Grant [Golden] and Nate [Cayo], and I said ‘I hope they’re not going to guard me like that’ because I feel like I can make a wide-open three. So right when I got in there I was like ‘I’m shooting that thing,'” said Grace after the game.
Grace and the rest of the Spiders shot 8-11 from three-point range and forced 11 Hawks turnovers in the opening 20 minutes to take a 40-31 lead at halftime. Blake Francis led the Spiders out of the locker room after intermission, scoring Richmond’s first six points as part of a 12-5 run that gave Richmond a 16-point lead just five minutes into the second half.
From there, Richmond was able to coast to a 23-point win, its largest since beating Massachusetts 95-71 on February 29, 2020, despite shooting just 1-12 from three-point range in the second half. The Spiders made 15 of their 18 shots from inside the three-point arc after halftime.
Burton added five rebounds, three steals, and two blocks to go with his 25 points. Francis scored 18 with three assists and two steals. Jacob Gilyard registered seven of Richmond’s season-high 23 assists.
The Spiders improved to 4-0 when coming off a loss this season and have won four straight road games.
Up next for Richmond is Saint Louis Friday night at the Robins Center, a matchup of the teams picked to finish in the top two spots in the conference’s official preseason poll in November. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 PM and the game is being nationally televised on ESPN2.